During the press conference after the win over West Virginia last week, Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury quoted the Latin proverb, “Fortune favors the bold.”
Coming into Norman, Kingsbury and Co. were not going to play safe football, hoping to escape with a win.
Instead, the Red Raiders entered Gaylord Family-Memorial Stadium demanding respect with an aggressive game plan full of trick plays.
“That was good execution by those guys,” Kingsbury said of his team. “Making plays when we had to make plays to stay in the game and they did it.”
The Red Raiders started their second possession with a reverse by sophomore receiver Jakeem Grant to pick up 14 yards. Later in the first quarter, Tech faced second-and-goal from the 3-yard line when Williams took the handoff and ran to his left toward the sideline.
As the defense approached, the southpaw Williams found a wide open senior receiver Eric Ward in the back of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass.
“I was just acting like I was blocking the corner until he sees Kenny with the ball,” Ward said. “Then, the (corner) triggers, trying to tackle Kenny, and I slip off into the end zone. It worked.”
Kingsbury said that Williams had been asking to run that play.
“We saw an opportunity to use it,” Kingsbury said. “Their corners are really aggressive, really good in the run game. (Williams) stepped up and made a nice throw.”
In the third quarter, Texas Tech scored a touchdown to make the score 21-14 in favor of the Sooners and forced Oklahoma to punt on their next possession.
Junior receiver Jordan Davis was back deep to receive for Tech, but ran toward the sideline as the ball dropped, like a decoy, and was followed by the rest of the Red Raiders except for freshman safety Tanner Jacobson.
Jacobson picked the ball up and returned it 32 yards.
“That was Coach Morris,” Kingsbury said. “He came up with that. He saw it on film. We were hoping he would punt it a little bit farther the other way. The bounce kind of hurt (the play); it would have scored, I think. It was a big momentum change in the game.”
The Red Raiders kicked a field goal on the next drive. On the ensuing kickoff, Texas Tech decided to onside kick, which was recovered by sophomore defensive back Summitt Hogue at the Oklahoma 46.
“It was something that Coach Haverty saw on film and said would be there,” Kingsbury said. “Our guys executed perfectly. I thought we had a chance with the wet ball. Maybe (it would) kind of slip out somewhere. We did a great job of executing and grabbing it.”
With three minutes left in the third quarter, the Red Raiders went for the trickery once again.
“Thanks to the Colts on that one,” Kingsbury said.
The play Kingsbury alludes to is the 17-yard touchdown pass to Grant with just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Before the snap, Grant ran from his position wide to the left and into the backfield. Once the ball was snapped, Webb faked to his right and threw left as Grant pivoted and ran back to the left, finding himself wide open.
Down the field, Ward made a big time block to clear the path to the end zone for Grant.
“That’s a designed play,” senior wide receiver Eric Ward said. “We knew that he’s so fast, people have to respect his speed. So when they see him in motion, they were playing man the whole game so they had to respect his speed. The cornerback had to go with him, the outside linebacker or whoever was on him had to commit to him. When he went with him, he redirected his route and came back out the backfield and I had to block for him.”
While Texas Tech ran more trick plays in Norman than it has in any single game this season, this performance does not max out the Red Raider playbook.
As Ward said, “We’re not going to pull out all the tricks.”